Showtime Shovel

Article By: Matt Reel

Photos By: Michael Lichter

Originally Published In The October-November 2020 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine

Showtime is a 1976 FXE Rigid Shovelhead bobber built by Brandon Keene of Traverse City MI and is a combination of an old school & new school bobber. Photographed by Michael Lichter in Sturgis, SD. August 1, 2019. ©2019 Michael Lichter

Brandon Keene always dreamed of building motorcycles for a living. But like most of us, he did his 9 to 5 gig and then built motorcycles on the side. Back in 2015, Brandon’s dad gave him his 1967 Triumph Bonneville to build. The Bonneville went on to win some events and kept the two wheel spark going. A 1999 Sportster build came along and did the same. But it wasn’t until a little more recently that Brandon decided to quit his day job and build custom motorcycles and parts full time. He opened B Keene Built. The bike he was working on when he made the big step is this one, Showtime. Judging from the work on this Shovel Brandon made a good move. The Showtime build started when Josh Pratt, a friend of a family member, asked Brandon to build him a show bike. Josh bought a 1976 Shovelhead and turned Brandon loose. Josh requested a bike with lots of “bling.” This allowed Brandon the opportunity to really dig into the work. He not only exceeded Josh’s expectations but also his own.

Showtime is a 1976 FXE Rigid Shovelhead bobber built by Brandon Keene of Traverse City MI and is a combination of an old school & new school bobber. Photographed by Michael Lichter in Sturgis, SD. August 1, 2019. ©2019 Michael Lichter

To get things started, the Shovel was torn down to its essential pieces. The stock frame was sent off to Jeff Cochran at Speedking for a hardtail. Brandon went to work and built a girder front end to mate to that freshly hard tailed frame. A set of Invader wheels, 21 inch for the front, and 16 inch for the rear were sourced from Pat at Led Sled Customs. Brandon now had a roller, and it was time to get to work. While the roller had a nice look by itself, there’s nothing like the sight of a Shovelhead engine resting in  place. Brandon sent the Shovel and transmission off to John Speaker. John went through both, top to bottom, to make sure they not only looked amazing but performed flawlessly. When he got them back, Brandon placed them in the frame and tied the two together with a Tech Cycle open chain primary. Brandon then built a jockey shift to row through the gears.

Showtime is a 1976 FXE Rigid Shovelhead bobber built by Brandon Keene of Traverse City MI and is a combination of an old school & new school bobber. Photographed by Michael Lichter in Sturgis, SD. August 1, 2019. ©2019 Michael Lichter

With the frame rolling and the engine and transmission in place, it was time to focus on some sheet metal. A Lowbrow gas tank was mounted precisely on the backbone, giving the bike that classic chopper style. Brandon formed up the rear fender himself and designed and built some beautiful fender mounts. Brandon had something special in mind for the oil tank; he ‘fabbed’ up a slick round oil tank. Then he went on    to design a license plate mount that allowed the plate to slide in behind the oil tank tucking it out of the way when the bike is parked. This keeps the look of the bike smooth and clean. While Brandon was in the fabricating mood, he went ahead and knocked out the handlebars and exhaust pipes. The bike was once again broken down to add some shiny stuff. For the paintwork, Brandon sent everything to Eric Malotke at Open Throttle Customs. Eric applied the beautiful Candy Metallic Red base and graphics. Chrome plating was taken care of by Meclec. Once everything was back, it was time to cautiously assemble Showtime for the last time. The final pieces came in the way of hand and foot controls from Speed Dealer, a headlight from FNA Custom Cycles, a taillight from After Hour Choppers, and a Biltwell seat completed the build.

Showtime is a 1976 FXE Rigid Shovelhead bobber built by Brandon Keene of Traverse City MI and is a combination of an old school & new school bobber. Photographed by Michael Lichter in Sturgis, SD. August 1, 2019. ©2019 Michael Lichter

So, there it is, a guy that decided to take the plunge, stepped away from his day job, and pursued his dream. I’d say he made a pretty good life choice. Brandon’s wife, Amy, has even jumped in and added to the company’s off erings by turning out some fantastic leatherwork. Give Brandon a follow on Instagram at @bkenebuilt or check Amy out on Instagram @leathamy; between the two of them, you’re destined to get a killer bike. Go take the plunge. Put fear behind you and follow your dream. Maybe it will be your SHOWTIME.

Lonestar Rally 2019

SHOWTIME TECH SHEET

Owner: Josh Pratt

City/State: Gladwin, MI

Builder: Brandon Keene

Year: 1976

Model: HD Shovelhead

Value: Unknown

Time: 6 months

ENGINE

Year: 1976

Model: Harley-Davidson

Builder: John Speaker

Ignition: Morris Magnito

Displacement: 80”

Pistons: Unknown

Heads: S&S

Carb: Super E

Cam: Unknown

Air Cleaner: Speed Dealer

Exhaust: B Keene Built

Primary: Tech Cycle Performance

TRANSMISSION

Year: 1976

Make: Harley-Davidson

Shifting: Jockey

FRAME

Year: 1976

Model: FXE

Rake: Stock

Stretch: Stock

Forks: B Keene Built

Builder: Speedking

Type: Hardtail

Triple Trees: B Keene Built

Extension: Unknown

WHEELS

Front Wheel: Ledsled Invader

Size: 21”

Tire: Firestone

Front Brake: None

Rear Wheel: Ledsled Invader

Size: 16”

Tire: Firestone

Rear Brake: Performance Machine

PAINT

Painter: Open Throttle Customs

Color: Candy Metallic Red

Type: Unknown

Graphics: Open Throttle Customs

Chroming: Meclec, INC

ACCESSORIES

Bars: B Keene Built

Risers: B Keene Built

Hand Controls: Speed Dealer

Foot Controls: Speed Dealer

Gas Tank(s): Lowbrow

Oil Tank: B Keene Built

Front fender: None

Rear Fender: B Keene Built

Seat: Biltwell

Headlight: FNA Custom Cycles

Tail light: After Hours Choppers

Speedo: None

Photographer: Michael Lichter

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